Ugandan doctors visit UCL
7 February 2006
A delegation of doctors from Mulago hospital in Uganda visited UCL in January 2006 as part of the Ugandan Women's Health Initiative, a project led by the UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women's Health to support a range of women's health concerns in the nation.
Dr Edward Naddumba, Chief Executive, of Mulago Hospital, Ms Alison Kantarama, Assistant Director of Mulago Hospital, Dr Cephas Mijumbi, Senior Consultant Anaestheologist and Dr Anthony Gakwaya, Senior Consultant Surgeon visited the UK to assess the hospital equipment now lying redundant since the closure of the Middlesex Hospital, whose resources have since been transferred to the new UCLH. Mulago hospital has been given first refusal on all Middlesex equipment, and the Ugandan team identified a range of hospital furniture, operating tables and other surgical equipment, which can be put to excellent use in Uganda.
The delegation also used their visit to sign a charter of cooperation with UCL, and to meet with UCL's President and Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant. The UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women's Health is running a number of major projects in collaboration with Mulago Hospital.
Professor Ian Jacobs, Director of the institute, explained that while the delegation was visiting the UK, a large pilot study into prevention of cervical and breast cancer was starting at Mulago. Cervical and breast cancer are a common cause of death amongst women in the developing world, yet countless lives could be saved by the kind of routine screening programmes which are in place in the UK. UCL and Mulago are collaborating to introduce the first routine breast and cervical screening programme for Ugandan women.
The UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute of Women's Health also plan to help the Ugandan authorities with the purchase of radiotherapy equipment - there is currently only one functioning radiotherapy machine in the entire country - and to assist in the prevention and treatment of other obstetric complications, including postpartum haemorrhage, vesico-vaginal fistula and neonatal resuscitation.
Dr Cephas Mijumbi explained that support for Uganda comes at a time when it is urgently needed: "Because of years of political upheaval, medical resources are very depleted in Uganda - hospital equipment is often antiquated and there are not enough doctors and nurses. Maternal mortality is high, and a large proportion of hospital births at the hospital are through caesarean section, often because the mother has only come to hospital once she has become very ill. People from rural areas do not even have any transport into hospital - even if they are very ill they may have to walk for five km, or find a generous person to carry them in."
Image: Dr Naddumba and Professor Grant